The Quirky Side of Salzburg
For many, Austria is a fairytale land of sweeping mountain vistas, breathtaking castles and deep history. Salzburg, Austria’s fourth-largest city and one of the oldest city centers in the world, is no exception. Though the city boasts a long record dating back to 696, it offers more than stuffy history and old streets.
Salzburg’s unique placement among the breathtaking Alps has kept the city from becoming too large and helped it retain its feeling of a smaller community. Because of this, Salzburg has cultivated a unique and sometimes eclectic collection of business and experiences for the traveler seeking things off the beaten path.
No matter what you’re looking for, Salzburg can provide a unique, quirky experience for travelers looking for something off the beaten path.
Honor the Dead
Visiting cemeteries in old cities can be the perfect antidote to the hustle and bustle of more traditional tourist attractions. While cemeteries with famous individuals interred can certainly draw crowds, their more quiet and peaceful nature can offer a respite without breaking the intrigue of traveling.
Petersfriedhof (St. Peter’s Cemetery) is the oldest cemetery in Austria and has the catacombs above the cemetery open for the public to view, leaving the alters and murals on display. Along with members of Mozart’s family, several Salzburg aristocrats are interred here, and their families still actively tend to the graves, tying the long past to the present.
Because Petersfriedhof is also known as a filming location from The Sound of Music, it tends to draw a crowd. However, the less-prominent Friedhof Salzburg (St. Sebastian’s Cemetery) offers a tranquil setting as well as some interesting graves, including the tomb and monument to honor Theophrastus Paracelsus, a physician, philosopher, astrologer, and occultist known as the “Father of Modern Medicine.”
Seek Out the Best Apfelstrudel
If you’re visiting Salzburg, accent your time walking the streets and enjoying the views with an apfelstrudel. Apfelstrudel is an Austrian pastry made from delicate phyllo dough and filled with sweet apples and cinnamon.
Café WurfelzuckerLink opens in a new tab’s location along the Salzach River makes it an ideal stop between items on your itinerary. Their apfelstrudel is regarded as some of the best in the city, as is their coffee, making it a perfect place to rest and recharge while enjoying the view.
If you’re near the Mozart house, Café HabakukLink opens in a new tab also boasts excellent apfelstrudel and a location close to Salzburg’s city center and St. Sebastian’s Cemetery.
Enjoy the Small Pleasures at the Dwarf Garden
A staple of European folklore, dwarves featured in the ZwerglartenLink opens in a new tab (Dwarf Garden) range from cute to creepy. This garden, established in 1715, is located adjacent to Mirabell Palace and Gardens, a popular attraction, but has a complicated history. The dwarf statues, many of which were modeled after individuals with dwarfism who served Prince-Archbishop Franz Anton Harrach, were auctioned off after Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria had them removed out of caution for his wife and their unborn child.
Fortunately, the Salzburg Society for the Preservation of Local Amenities recovered the statues and restored them to their homes in the perfectly manicured garden for all to visit.
Fly Over to Hangar-7
Full of historical planes and Formula One racing cars, the Hangar-7Link opens in a new tab museum is a great attraction for anyone who likes to go fast. The museum itself, developed and owned by the Red Bull energy drink company, is a marvel with a glass dome and two cylindrical pillars that offer views of the nearby mountains and the Salzburg airport. In addition, Hangar-7 and nearby Hangar-8 are home to the Flying Bulls and Ikarus, a two-Michelin star restaurant that features a new top chef in residence each month.
Have a Beer and Learn How It’s Made
The Augustiner BreweryLink opens in a new tab is a beautiful place that offers good beer and traditional Bavarian pretzels—something one must experience while in Salzburg. This brewery has been open since 1621, so you know the brewers are on to something special. First, learn about their brewing process with a brewery tour that includes a beer tasting. Then, enjoy the old-world atmosphere of their dining room while enjoying a generous pour of beer and a snack.
Want to stay outside? The Augustiner Brewery also boasts a famous beer garden positioned beneath chestnut trees—the perfect place to cool down and unwind after a day of sightseeing.
Salzburg offers a wealth of wonderful experiences for the discerning traveler. While the city contains all the museums, architecture, and history one would expect from Salzburg, it also has lovely, quirky experiences that will stand out as treasured travel memories. Whatever you choose to do in Salzburg, take time to soak in the city's authenticity since it is truly unique among European cities.